PSA: ‘Serious shortcomings’ lead to fatality on Maersk Interceptor rig

Norway’s offshore safety body, the Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA), has given a notice of order to Maersk Drilling following an investigation of the fatal accident on the Maersk Interceptor drilling rig.

To remind, two offshore workers were injured on December 7, 2017, in an incident on the Aker BP-operated Tambar field offshore Norway. The incident took place on the Maersk Drilling-owned Maersk Interceptor jack-up rig.

Aker BP confirmed a day later that one person passed away following the accident. The deceased, a Norwegian citizen and employee of Maersk Drilling, fell into the sea during maintenance work on the rig. The person was picked up from the water by a standby vessel and transported by helicopter to Haukeland University Hospital in Bergen. The condition of the second worker was not critical. He was transported to Stavanger University Hospital.

The PSA began investigating the incident on December 8, 2017. The safety body said that the investigation would include clarifying the course of events and identifying the direct and indirect causes of the incident to contribute to learning and experience transfer.


Notice of order following investigation 


The PSA said on Thursday that Maersk Drilling Norge was given a notice of order following the completed investigation of the accident.

According to the offshore safety regulator, the serious accident on the rig occurred during the installation of a new seawater pump. As part of its investigation of the incident, the PSA was on board the unit from December 9-13, 2017.

“Based on its preliminary investigation, the PSA has identified serious shortcomings in systems and processes for materials handling,” the safety body said.

In the notice of order, the PSA said that Maersk Drilling had to review systems for follow-up and use of portable lifting equipment on all facilities in use on the Norwegian continental shelf, including internal control, training of personnel using such equipment and transferring experience with using such equipment.

Also, the company was told to systematically identify and review all operations related to the materials handling process for the installation of seawater pumps on all facilities in use on the Norwegian continental shelf, identify risks and implement necessary measures.

The deadline for compliance with this order is set to February 28. Maersk Drilling is requested to present a plan for complying with the order no later than January 11, 2018.

To clarify, an order is an administrative decision and a strongly preventive instrument which is legally binding on the recipient, in this case, Maersk Drilling. Before the PSA issues an order, it usually sends a notice of order to the affected companies which is neither an instrument nor a notice of sanctions.